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NOW READING These K-Beauty Cult Faves Are Worth the Hype — & These Are SO Not
November 9, 2018

These K-Beauty Cult Faves Are Worth the Hype — & These Are SO Not

Get ready to be offended. Because in K-beauty, one person’s trash is truly some other person’s treasure. But that’s what makes K-beauty so great — it’s never one-size-fits-all, and it’s always YMMV. So read on to see if you agree with this writer on what’s worth the hype and what’s … meh. And if you’re new to K-beauty, use this to guide your way to your new K-beauty faves.


There are a lot of K-beauty products that are so popular, so well-reviewed by everyone that it almost seems like it’s impossible for them to be that good. There are the products of yesteryear, like the first Missha FTE (which is still literally one of the best K-beauty products to ever exist, and this is not an exaggeration AT ALL) and the Su:m37 Rose Cleansing Stick, and then there are products none of us can ever seem to escape, like the Black Sugar Scrub from Skinfood.


But are these products REALLY that great? Or is it just one giant, massive, groupthink experiment where we’ve all decided to like something just because everyone else does? Well, we might never know the answer to that, but I AM here to tell you my opinion on some of K-beauty’s most sought after products and whether they’re worth the hype.


worth the hype


Sulwhasoo Overnight Vitalizing Mask: Worth the hype


If there is any one K-beauty product that you 100,000% need in your life, it’s the Sulwhasoo Overnight Vitalizing Mask. Trust me on this. It’s legit my #1 game changing, holy grail product. Oily skin? Dry skin? Stressed skin? Dehydrated skin? Doesn’t matter — it will turn your skin into a magical unicorn fairy princess. Just trust me on this.


worth the hype


I’ve had nights where I’ve had like three hours of sleep and didn’t look like it because I slathered this on. It’s perfect for everyone — fancy-pants 15-step gals who love luxury, and the 3-step one-and-done people who want to look like a million bucks but don’t want to try hard. Just … if you’ve never bought it, do yourself a favor and buy two. Trust me. It is WORTH EVERY. SINGLE. PENNY.


Laniege Lip Sleeping Mask: Not worth the hype


When this first came out, I was SO SHOOK. I coveted it. I wanted it so bad.



And then I got it, and I was like … oh.


I mean, don’t get me wrong, the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask IS very nice. It’s hydrating, moisturizing, smells nice. … but I just expected it to be better, especially considering it’s approximately $20. I am a lip balm queen so maybe my expectations were too high, but honestly, I’d rather use cherry vaseline. Same effect, much, much cheaper price.


Etude House Proof 10 Eye Primer: Worth the hype


Back when I lived in Korea, one of my beauty-loving friends told me the Etude House Proof 10 Eye Primer was a dupe of the cult favorite Urban Decay Primer Potion. So of course, I had to try it out and … I’ve literally been using it ever since.


That’s right, folks, I’ve been using this same primer for roughly six-plus years now. There are times I have strayed … and I’ve come right back to it. Whenever I use this, my eyeshadow DOES NOT MOVE. Sweat, HA. Runny eyes? PSH. Sweaty, oily eyelids? Yeah, don’t worry it. The only thing is that the packaging is really dumb because you can’t get all of the product out of it, but honestly, it’s still so, so worth it.



COSRX BHA Power Liquid: Worth the hype


At this point, I’ve written at least 43,059,095 (OK, maybe three) articles about how much the COSRX BHA Liquid has changed my life. Like honestly, whenever I don’t have it in my life my skin is like ?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!? It does not compute.


worth the hype


If you have oily, acne-prone skin or temperamental hormonal acne, you need this in your life. And if you’re so inclined, pair it with the COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Cream and watch all of your skincare woes vanish into thin air.


Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop: Not worth the hype


I had really high hopes for Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop. Overall, Klairs is home to some of my favorite K-beauty products, like the Supple Preparation Toner. But this serum was a big flop for me. It has 5% vitamin C and is supposed to both brighten and hydrate the skin, but … this really did nothing for me at all. I had no visible changes, and it didn’t feel that great on my skin either. But as we all say in the skincare world, YMMV (your mileage may vary)!

Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop

So what’s your favorite product that’s totally worth the hype? And what cult fave product are you like, meh? Sound off below!



Sheryll Donerson got her start as a beauty writer by writing K-beauty reviews for her blog, The Wanderlust Project. These days, she's lifting heavy weights, eating tacos, drinking (too much) coffee and is 1/4 of the beauty podcast, Beauty Beyond Basics (or Triple Bees for short). You can find her on Instagram and Twitter at @sheryllrenata.




I personally like the Laneige's Lip Mask and Klair's Vitamin Drops.
For Laneige's Lip Mask, I tried this after trying out other products. I've tried the Aritaum's Ginger Lip mask, but it was too gooey and thick for my liking. I got my hair and dogs' furs stuck on my lips... But this never happened with Laneige's Lip Mask!

For Klair's Vitamin Drops, I love how it's effective and mild on the skin. I didn't get any irritation using it. I've tried COSRX's Triple Lightning Liquid which was suppose to be better than the Klair's due to the higher percentage... Read more


i agree 100% with this list! i always found that there are cheaper lip balms that do what laneige's lip mask does just as well if not better. but also the sulwhasoo mask! i just bought it a few weeks ago and my life is changed forever, it's amazing.


Ahhhh, and yet, I love the lip mask — no balm can do for my lips that this has done — and am a bit meh on the Proof 10. It's so YMMV!


I really like the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask - I don't mind the price point, because it'll last for the rest of my life, and my next descendant's life when I leave what is left in that pot for them after I die. A tiny bit goes a loooong way.

Agreed on the Sulwhasoo mask - it's sooooo good.


The only one of these products I've tried so far is the COSRX BHA, which I started fairly recently. I was skeptical because I had gotten used to Stridex and then COSRX felt so gentle in comparison -- how could it possibly be strong enough? But so far it's actually working better! I think the Stridex was just too harsh/drying for most of my face and maybe caused my skin to overreact. (I might still use it occasionally on my nose, though.) So yeah I think the COSRX BHA is worth the hype!

I definitely want to try the Sulwhasoo mask... Read more


These faves are soooo YMMV! I know Sheryll Donerson and @cocopark looooves the Proof 10, and I do love that it\'s lightweight and doesn\'t feel silicone-y, but I find I need a stronger primer for my hooded lids.

And I loooove the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask. Over time, it\'s really made a difference in my perennially flaky, dry lips.

One product that is totally worth the hype? Earth\'s Recipe Waterful Sun Gel.
A total HG.